We live in a world where technology is constantly evolving and becoming more and more commonplace in our everyday lives. With this comes an increased reliance on the internet and digital devices to perform essential tasks, both in our personal and professional lives. Unfortunately, as our dependence on these devices grows, so too does the risk of cyber-attacks.
Cybercrime is a very real and ever-present threat to both individuals and businesses alike. In 2019 alone, the cost of cybercrime is estimated to have reached $3.5 billion in Australia alone, and it is only expected to rise in the years to come.
That’s why the AFP (Australian Federal Police) urges everyone to report any cybercrime attempts, no matter how small they may seem. In doing so, we can help to prevent these attacks from happening in the first place and protect ourselves and our businesses from the costly damages that can often result.
But reporting isn’t the only thing we can do to protect ourselves from cyber-attacks. In this article, we’ll also look at some of the best ways to prevent malware threats and tips for detecting malicious browser extensions.
How to Stay Safe in The World of Cybercrime
The best way to protect yourself and your business from the costly damages of cybercrime is to take proactive measures to prevent these attacks from happening in the first place. Below are some tips on how you can do just that:
Use Strong Passwords and Never Reuse Them
One of the simplest but most effective ways to stay safe online is to use strong passwords that are unique to each account you have. Strong passwords should be a minimum of eight characters in length and include a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.
Avoid using easily guessed words like your name, address, or birthday, as well as common phrases or dictionary words.
It’s also important to never reuse passwords across multiple accounts. If a hacker gains access to one of your accounts, they will then have access to all of them if you are using the same password. Use a password manager to generate and store strong passwords for you so that you don’t have to remember them all.
Keep Your Software Up-To-Date
One of the most important things you can do to protect your devices from malware is to keep your software up-to-date. Operating system updates often include security patches that fix vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit. Set your devices to install updates automatically so that you don’t have to remember to do it yourself.
In addition to updating your operating system, you should also keep your other software up-to-date, including your web browser, plugins, and any applications you have installed. Many software programs will update automatically, but you should periodically check for updates manually to be sure.
Use an Anti-Virus Program and Firewall
An anti-virus program can protect your computer from malware by scanning your system for malicious files and software and removing them. It’s important to choose a reputable anti-virus program and keep it up-to-date to ensure it can protect you from the latest threats.
Furthermore, you should also consider using a firewall. A firewall can help to block incoming connections from malicious computers and stop malware from spreading if your computer does become infected.
Be Wary of Emails, Links, and Attachments
One of the most common ways that hackers gain access to people’s devices is through phishing emails. These are emails that appear to be from a legitimate source but are actually from a hacker trying to steal your personal information.
Never click on links or open attachments from emails unless you are absolutely sure they are safe. If an email looks suspicious, even if you know the person who sent it, it’s best to err on the side of caution and delete it.
Use a Secure Web Browser
When browsing the internet, you should always use a secure web browser that has built-in security features to help protect you from malware and other online threats. Some of the most popular secure browsers include Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Edge.
In addition to using a secure browser, you should also make sure that any extensions or plugins you have installed are from a trusted source. These can include ad blockers, password managers, and more. Be careful about what you install as some malicious plugins can collect your personal data without you realising it.